18 baby deaths could have been prevented

October 23, 2015
File Dr Fenton Ferguson

I tried my best not to get into this situation with the bacteria that killed 18 babies at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) and at Cornwall Regional Hospital, but try as I might I just can't avoid it.

Eighteen Jamaicans will never have a chance to poop in their diapers or to cry at night keeping their parents awake. Eighteen Jamaicans won't get the chance to attend primary school, run at their first sports day, say their first poem or sing their first song. Eighteen Jamaicans will never get the chance to attend high school, have a first date, attend college and go on and have a career. Eighteen Jamaicans will never get a chance to be in a relationship, to get married, or to have kids of their own.

Those 18 Jamaicans won't ever get to experience any of those things because those of us who were entrusted to keep them safe failed to do their jobs.

There have been calls for the Minister of Health, Fenton Ferguson, to be fired. At the very least, many well thinking Jamaicans expect him to step down. He won't. Last year when Chik-V took a $7 billion-bite out of the economy, despite the minister being aware of its pending arrival here two years in advance, the minister held on and is still here today to face another firestorm of criticism over his stewardship. If he didn't step aside then, he won't step aside now.

Those 18 families will just have to grieve, and like the British Prime Minister told our leaders a few weeks ago, get over it.


people responsible


And you know why that is? It is that way because as we do everything else in this country we always find a way to politicise things and cloud the real picture. If 18 people were killed in a small community since June of this year, they would be up in arms calling for greater police presence. But who is calling for a better policing of the protocols that caused the lethal bacteria to thrive for so long in these two hospitals?

After say, the first three or four deaths, are you telling me no one picked up that something serious was trending and take the necessary steps to remedy the situation? I am sure someone must have identified that this lethal strain of bacteria killing people's babies was lingering within the environment where these little babies were being kept. So why didn't someone act? And who is that someone or those people responsible?


three decades


Are you telling me that when it got to 10 babies, someone couldn't have said, "Jesus Christ, we need to do something! Someone get some bleach and let's clean this place from top to bottom!?"

This is ludicrous. But then that has been Jamaica on an ever increasing basis for the last two of three decades. Nothing makes sense. We have become country of quiet chaos with the occasional violent flare ups. There is so much wrong with this country, but it can only be remedied if we first identify what the real problems are. However, it doesn't seem as if we are prepared to do that.

So more babies will die, more people will shot and burned in their houses, and more people will be calling American pensioners with the sole intention of scamming them out of their money. These are the things that happen within a dysfunctional society.

The deaths of these 18 babies will act as a sign of where we are all headed if we don't get a grip on what has and continues to go terribly wrong with the land of ours.

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